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India says ready to soon start voluntary Covid-19 vaccination

India’s government said on Friday it could soon start voluntary inoculation against the Covid-19 disease as it considers emergency use authorization for three vaccine candidates including those from AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Indian company Bharat Biotech has also applied for emergency approval.

The country recorded 22,890 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to near 10 million, with 144,789 deaths. It has the world’s second highest number of cases after the United States, though the gap between them is now widening as India is reporting fewer cases since a mid-September peak.

The government says it could take more than one year to administer two doses of vaccines - 28 days apart - to most of India’s 1.35 billion people.

“The government of India is geared to launch a vaccine for Covid-19 soon,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a public advisory.

“Vaccination for Covid-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of Covid-19 vaccine.”

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